What are the best alternatives to Facebook?
With Facebook yet again in the news about breaches of privacy (it's free for users to use because the data is sold to advertisers so what do you expect?) many may be yet again looking for alternatives to use.
Two reality checks are worth noting:
1. Most people's friends and family are on Facebook (willingly or unwillingly) and you're going to find it near to impossible to convince all 150+ of them to migrate to anything else because their 150+ friends are also stuck on Facebook. It's the same reason WhatsApp and Twitter are still going strong despite there being better alternatives.
2. An exact replication of Facebook is not easy to find. WhatsApp and Twitter both have easier and better alternatives to use. You need to take stock of what is actually being used in Facebook, and whilst basic message posting with GIFs, attached photos, polls, etc are quite easy to find, what you don't find bundled elsewhere is included photo albums, check-ins, and events for example. It's often this clutter on Facebook that seems to keep some people there ;-)
I have tried (and still belong to) many different social networking sites from back in the day of FriendFeed, MySpace, etc and the closest I can think of right now possibly are the following (this list could be broadened if you put your photos and videos on a site like Flickr and just share in your posts):
* Diaspora at https://diasp.org - no adverts, decentralised pods with contacts (friends), photos (no album groupings though), posts. It has aspects similar to G+ Collections that you can post to or follow separately (do not have to follow all posts from someone).
* Google+ at https://plus.google.com/ - yes it is going strong still and is especially good for interests / hobbies based posts. Also has contacts in the form of Circles that you create to post / follow, and also Collections where you can post on a specific theme and also just follow a person's Collection instead of all posts. It also allows polls and posting photos. It has some links to Events / Hangouts but the photos tab has been obscured for the G+ profile so effectively no photo browsing.
* Ello at https://ello.co/ - punting itself more as a creators network now and also without any ads. It allows posts with photos and links but also no actual photo album functionality.
* GnuSocial at https://social.consumium.org - no ads, 1,000 character post that can include links, photos, events and polls. Also a decentralised federation of servers, and RSS feeds to replicate your posts elsewhere. They claim to be adding better photo and video posting in future.
I have really only considered pure social networks so have excluded these groups which have numerous alternatives already:
* Microblogging like Twitter, Mastodon, Tumblr, etc.
* Photoblogging like Instagram, SnapChat, Flickr, etc.
* Team chat like Slack, Riot, Zulip, etc.
* Online collaboration like Elgg, Alfresco, etc.
* Specialised like LinkedIn, Second Life, dating sites, FourSquare, Yelp, etc.
In summary social network alternatives to Facebook often have advantages like increased freedom of expression with less censorship, better security and privacy options, often can be self-hosted and federated to other instances (each instance having its own flavour), improved data export and connectivity. On the downside, your provider could also disappear as they do not have a corporate financial model selling your data to keep funding the service.
The final point though is, based on momentum to date, nothing ha syet come along that has been appealing enough for the billion or so Facebook users to all migrate away from Facebook.
So as much as many hate Facebook, most are "stuck" there.
What would it take for 100 million people to move? What other worthwhile alternatives do you think there are to Facebook that have posts, photo albums, events, check-ins, messaging, etc as part of the single platform?
|The best Facebook alternatives
If you like to network with your friends online, the chances are you’ve got Facebook. But there are conservative alternatives that offer better data protection.